USDA Announces Conservation Programs, Partnerships During National Pollinator Week

Pollinators are a vital part of the tree fruit and nut industry. This week marks USDA’s National Pollinator Week to recognize the importance bees and other pollinators play in agriculture. USDA has announced two initiatives in support of the President’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and Other Pollinators. This announcement was made in conjunction with National Pollinator Week and in advance of the seventh annual Pollinator Week Festival.

USDA says farmers and ranchers are creating at least 15 million acres of healthy forage and habitat for pollinators.

“Pollinators are small but mighty creatures who need our help as much as we need theirs, and that is why USDA is dedicating resources from all corners of our department to boost their habitat and better understand how to protect them,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In addition to creating healthy habitat and food for pollinators through our conservation work, USDA research is leading to breakthroughs in pollinator survival that may reverse the declines we’ve seen over the past few decades. We look forward to continued collaboration with America’s beekeepers and honey producers to ensure this work is meaningful and effective.”

USDA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with two honey bee organizations, the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation. This partnership will ensure USDA’s conservation initiatives include pollinators and that beekeepers understand how they can benefit from USDA’s conservation and safety net programs.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) also plays a critical role in the delivery of programs that provide a safety net for beekeepers who experience losses due to natural disasters, and the agency administers the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program, which provides assistance for the loss of honeybee colonies, in excess of normal mortality, due to Colony Collapse Disorder or other natural causes. These groups have helped to ensure that these safety net programs work well, and they have helped focus research to learn more about the impacts of USDA programs and make continuous improvements.

A thorough review of USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has revealed that farmers and ranchers across the country have created more than 15 million acres of healthy habitat and forage for pollinators through the Conservation Reserve Program. Of these, 269,000 acres are enrolled in a pollinator-specific initiative, but these creatures are also helped by several other CRP initiatives on private land that provide wildflowers, shrubs, and safe nesting sites through measures that are intended to improve water quality or create bird habitat.

Since then, USDA has more than tripled the acreage enrolled in CRP’s pollinator initiative, through which USDA helps to cover the cost of planting pollinator-friendly wildflowers, legumes, and shrubs, and USDA has increased the limit on this initiative in response to landowner demand so that more acres can be enrolled in the future.

USDA conducted the high-level review of existing conservation practices and other studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and universities to determine which voluntary conservation practices benefit pollinators. FSA continues to work with USGS to assess which strategies work best to support pollinator health, and future studies may indicate that additional acres also can be considered pollinator friendly.

In its 30th year, CRP provides incentives to farmers and ranchers with the cost of establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality, and develop wildlife habitats on marginally productive agricultural lands. This helps to combat global climate change and provides resiliency to future weather changes. This analysis shows that among its many other benefits, CRP also is extraordinarily beneficial to protecting and promoting pollinator species, from honeybees to monarchs, that are essential to agricultural health.

Leave a Reply

Farm Management Stories
Gary Reeder of West Coast Tomato/McClure Family Farms in Florida
GenNext Growers
May 18, 2017
Five Delegates to Represent U.S. at Youth Agriculture Summit
More than 1,000 applied as delegates to help tackle global food security challenge at international event. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 15, 2017
U.S. Apple Board Member Stresses Labor Reform At Senate Farm Bill Hearing
Michigan apple grower says agriculture’s future depends on Farm Bill funding. Read More
Burn ban sign posted along S.R. A1A in Flagler County, FL, due to drought conditions
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central Florida
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Farm Management
May 9, 2017
Promote Efficiency by Taking Advantage of These Tech Tools
From animal housing to tillage, USDA's NRCS has you covered. Read More
farm labor pic for web
Fruits
May 4, 2017
Senate Democrats Unveil New Ag Labor Plan
Feinstein, colleagues introduce legislation to shield farmworkers from deportation. Read More
Port Of Miami shipyard
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe into Unfair Trade Tactics
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2017
Don’t Miss the Ripple Effect of Ag Labor
When addressing the topic of ag labor, don’t ignore the ancillary benefits each agriculture job supports. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
Trump Creates Agricultural Task Force
Panel to examine issues facing today’s growers including labor, food safety, and regulations. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
Judi Whitson, 2016 Florida Woman of the Year in Agriculture
Citrus
April 24, 2017
Who Will Be Florida’s next Woman of the Year in Agriculture?
Nomination period now open for longstanding recognition from FDACS. Read More
GenNext Growers
April 22, 2017
Next Generation of Leaders Gets Yearlong Almond Immersion
Almond Leadership Program enters its ninth year with the 2017 class. Read More
Washington Capitol building
Citrus
April 21, 2017
Alliance Stepping Up Efforts to Protect Specialty Crops
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has kicked off its efforts to communicate to Congress its priority needs for the Read More
farm labor pic for web
Citrus
April 20, 2017
Farm Labor Is in Crisis
To have a great crop potentially rot in the field because workers can’t be sourced is probably worse than a weather event taking out production. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 19, 2017
Young Apple Growers Meet with Lawmakers
Apple leaders from across the country discuss ag issues such as labor, trade, and research. Read More
Barnes Farm cabbage field in Hastings, FL
Citrus
April 18, 2017
Florida Growers Seeking Inspiration Need Not Look Far
The firsthand experience of speaking with farmers and actually seeing all the hard work, knowledge, ingenuity, and people behind where our food comes from is invaluable. Read More
The Latest
Citrus
May 20, 2017
Short on Water, Florida Growers Know How…
Through drought, smoke and brush fires, it’s plain to see you farmers have been doing your part to conserve and preserve one of our most precious resources. Read More
Citrus
May 20, 2017
USDA Creates Undersecretary for Trade
Reorganization puts trade, farm production as top priorities for the agency. Read More
Citrus
May 15, 2017
Drought Conditions Deepen Across Central…
Water Shortage Warning Order expanded to all counties within St. Johns River Water Management District. Read More
Farm Management
May 9, 2017
Promote Efficiency by Taking Advantage o…
From animal housing to tillage, USDA's NRCS has you covered. Read More
Citrus
April 29, 2017
Florida Ag Commissioner Pushes for Probe…
With a focus on Mexico, letter sent by Adam Putnam to the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary stresses need for level playing field. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2017
Trump Creates Agricultural Task Force
Panel to examine issues facing today’s growers including labor, food safety, and regulations. Read More
Citrus
April 26, 2017
Perdue Sworn in as Ag Secretary
USDA launches Twitter account to help promote the industry. Read More
Citrus
April 24, 2017
Who Will Be Florida’s next Woman of the …
Nomination period now open for longstanding recognition from FDACS. Read More
Citrus
April 21, 2017
Alliance Stepping Up Efforts to Protect …
The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance has kicked off its efforts to communicate to Congress its priority needs for the Read More
Citrus
April 18, 2017
Citrus Growth Path Uncertain as Florida …
According to the latest Lay of the Land Market Report, the waiting game for a solution to greening has tempered groves sales. Read More
Farm Management
April 18, 2017
Survey Says New York Growers Lost More t…
Growers say they suffered more than 50% crop losses in Western New York. Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Florida Flush with Water Shortage Warnin…
Conservation practices preached throughout the state as exceptionally dry pattern persists.  Read More
Farm Management
April 12, 2017
How California’s No-Drought Status…
Find out which previous orders are rescinded as a result of the drought being declared over — and which ones are not. Read More
Farm Management
April 12, 2017
Take the Stress out of Food Safety Insp…
Buurma Farms has a low-tech, common sense system in place that keeps its produce as safe as possible, and makes passing inspections easy. Read More
Citrus
April 10, 2017
BASF Licenses CRISPR-Cas9 Technology for…
Genome-editing from Broad Institute has potential to be a more precise tool to improve ag products. Read More
Citrus
April 6, 2017
Mild or Wild? Here Is Your 2017 Atlantic…
Possible return of El Niño climate phase could sap strength out of any stormy scenarios. Read More
Citrus
March 23, 2017
Count Down the World’s Top 30 Agricultur…
Familiar names and several new faces among annual ranking’s elite. Read More
Business Planning
March 22, 2017
How HortTech Is Solving Grower Challenge…
Dozens of tech companies are looking for solutions to real-world problems vegetable growers face. We take a look at what it could really mean for you and your business. Read More